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Ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro mesmerizes fans with his super fast fingers, which he uses to stunning effect to combine elements of the blues, bluegrass, jazz, folk, classical, rock and flamenco. The deeply talented musician has composed many original works, including the soundtrack to the 2007 film Hula Girls and the Japanese version of Sideways in 2009.
Shimabukuro reached international fame in 2006, after a private video he had recorded for himself was shown on YouTube. Shimabukuro apparently had no knowledge of this release until the video went viral - one of the first YouTube videos to reach such heights. This global recognition made him an overnight success. The floodgates opened and a rash of Jake Shimabukuro tour dates, media appearances, collaborations with famous musicians and music productions followed.
His career snowballed, leading to a documentary on his life. The award-winning 2012 film Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings followed the life of the artist through his childhood and musical career. It has aired frequently on PBS, been shown in a variety of film festivals and was released for the public on DVD.
Jake Shimabukuro's background
Jake Shimabukuro first got the music bug at the age of four. Listening to his mother play the ukulele inspired the youngster to take up the instrument, and he begged his mother to teach him how to play. Jake took to the small ukulele like a pro and spent every possible minute practicing. After years of learning at his mother's feet, he took professional lessons at Roy Sakuma Studios under the tutelage of Tami Akiyami.
In 1998, Shimabukuro formed Pure Heart with Lopaka Col�_n on drums and Jon Yamasato providing vocals and lead guitar. Shimabukuro was employed at a music store in Honolulu when his group's first album, Pure Heart, was released. The record was honored with four Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (the Hawaiian equivalent to a Grammy Award), and Honolulu Magazine named Pure Heart one of the Top 50 Hawaiian albums of all time.
The group released Pure Heart 2 the following year, winning another Hoku award.
Shimabukuro became a solo act once again in 2002 and quickly became the first Hawaiian artist to sign a recording contract with Epic Records International. The uke playing sensation toured extensively in Japan and released numerous records - Skyline (2002), Haruyo Koi (2007), Yeah (2008), Ichigo Ichie (2008), Annon (2009), The Music of Sideways (2009), Across the Universe (2009), Aloha To You (2011), Ukulele X: 10th Anniversary Collection (2011), Ukulele Disney (2012). A 120-page biographical book featuring photos of the star in action was published in 2008.
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